Obscenities and ethnic slurs fly on Queen Mary 2, get passengers ejected

Gloria Sher and her husband, Frederick Evans, believe they were defending themselves. And, let’s assume they are old enough to know what that means. She’s 82 years old, a spring chicken compared to her 91-year-old husband. Well, the elderly pair was thrown off the Queen Mary 2 over a verbal brawl that they say was kicked off by another passenger who made an anti-Semitic comment at a black-tie dinner.

Their five-week, $20,000 cruise almost came to an early end at a port in Quebec, which is where the ship was ready to drop them, banished for foul language. Other passengers came to the couple’s defense, however, and the pair was permitted to stay on board for another six days, though under house-arrest conditions. Sher and Evans weren’t allowed to leave their cabin – and their alcohol was confiscated.

So, what happened?”Minutes into their meal” at the black-tie event, Sher tells the New York Post, one of the people at his table told him to shut up before saying, “There are too many Jews on board.” Sher dropped the F-bomb in reply and went back to her room.

The ship’s captain took the side of the alleged anti-Semite, and told Sher she’d have to “leave the ship,” according to the New York Post, without even listening to his side of the story. The couple even knew the captain from previous trips – an inside connection that got them nowhere.

But, Sher may not be an angel, the New York Post continues:

But one passenger told The Post that the couple was at least partly to blame. Sher tends to get belligerent when drinking, the passenger said, recalling that she went on a rant one night because a lounge’s piano was closed.

Ultimately, they were able to stay on board, with occasional trips out of their room, until the ship got back to New York. The Cunard cruise line only offered a refund of $839 and said in a statement: “The Cunard cruise line — which would refund the couple only $839 — said in a statement that “Sir Evans and Lady Sher engaged in multiple incidences of disrespectful and disruptive behavior towards crew members and other guests.” The company supports the captain’s decision.

[photo by Dawn Endico via Flickr]

Spanish fisherman nets camera lost on cruise ship two years ago

Back in October 2008, Mr. and Mrs. Gregory from South Africa were enjoying a cruise on the magnificent Queen Mary 2, making photos of their vessel passing alongside the famous QE2.

When taking their photos, the camera accidentally fell overboard into the Atlantic off the coast of Ireland. Usually, dropping a camera into the ocean means the end of the camera, and the photos stored on it.

To the couples amazement, their camera and memory card were returned to them this week after a Spanish fisherman caught it in one of his nets.

Apparently, Benito Estevez found the camera, and was able to track down where the photos were taken, contacted the cruise line, and managed to reunite the couple with their photos.

Of course, the camera was damaged beyond repair, but the memory card was still in excellent condition, as were the photos stored on it.

Peter Shanks, the CEO of Cunard obviously took good advantage of this fantastic event, and had the following to say:

“In all my years in the travel industry I have never heard of such a heart-warming stroke of luck and we at Cunard are delighted that Mr. and Mrs. Gregory have been reunited with their photos. The images are even more poignant as they depict the last transatlantic crossing of the great QE2 and can never be taken again.”

Kudos to everyone involved – I’m guessing that most fishermen would just throw trash like that away, but to go to this much effort to reunite someone with their photos is a breath of fresh air.%Gallery-71848%

British couple awarded over $35,000 for “loss of enjoyment” on cruise

When Terence and Cynthia Milner booked a 15-week, $100,000 round-the-world cruise on Cunard’s Queen Victoria, they were expecting the trip of a lifetime. Instead, they claim the experience was so horrible that they had to get off the ship early in Hawaii, at which point they were “in a terrible state.”

The problem: apparently the first night they heard unbearable noise in their cabin. They were moved, and moved again and again but continued to find each successive cabin equally unsatisfactory until they could take it no more. Cunard refunded the couple nearly $80,000 for the portion of the cruise they missed, but the Milners wanted more. The took Cunard to court, and were awarded an additional 22,000 pounds (about $36,600) with the majority of the money awarded for “distress and disappointment.” Another portion of the settlement was awarded to cover the £4,300 worth of formal dresses Mrs. Milner bought, which she is now unable to wear because they are an “unwelcome reminder of the cruise.”

According to the BBC, the Milners claim they were first moved to a cabin fitted for the disabled, which was located near the engine and was very noisy. They were then moved to another cabin, but were concerned that they wouldn’t have it the whole time because it was booked by another couple joining the cruise later. By this time, Milners were terribly afflicted with mouth ulcers and breathing difficulties, so they jumped ship in Hawaii, where they vacationed for six weeks, all the while “exhausted and inconsolable.”

Exhausted and inconsolable in Hawaii? I suppose that could be true….if they Milners couldn’t find contentment on a $100,000 round-the-world luxury cruise, I doubt they could find it anywhere.


Zagat Survey rates cruise lines – picks Cunard as “top overall”

After years of reviewing hotels, nightlife, bars and restaurants, the Zagat Survey has started publishing results of its first cruise line survey.

To generate reliable results, the Zagat.com survey asked cruise passengers for their opinion of cabins, service, facilities, activities and of course dining. The results were split into three categories – large ships, mid size ships and small ships (under 200 passengers). In total, over 22,700 cruise trips were used to reach a conclusion.

The winner of the “best overall” category was Cunard Line. Given the rich tradition of top class service on the Cunard ships, it should come as no surprise that they took the top spot. In the individual categories, Cunard won in the dining and facilities categories, and took the second spot in activities, right behind Disney.

Cunard Line has been crossing the Atlantic since 1840 and currently operates two ships – the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria. In October of next year, the brand new Queen Elizabeth will join the fleet.

More on the results of the Zagat cruise line survey can be found here, and a PDF with the complete results is here.

Final resting place for the QE2 not so final after all

Last year, we wrote about the very last voyage ever for the famous Cunard QE2. This magnificent vessel was purchased for $82 Million by Dubai developer Nakheel. The plan was to dock the ship, and convert her into a luxury hotel. As it turns out, that very last voyage ever is not as final as first thought.

Part of the contract with Cunard meant that Nakheel could never use the vessel as a passenger carrying cruise ship.

Of course, back when they signed that contract, they probably didn’t realize Dubai was going to suffer from the effects of the global recession.

The scope of the slowdown of the Dubai economy has now forced the final resting place of the QE2 to be put on hold, and the ship is going to act as a not-so-luxury hotel down in Cape Town for the 2010 football world cup.

It is still unknown whether the Dubai project will continue as planned or whether the resort planned around the QE2 will become yet another victim of the Dubai economic meltdown.